Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Book of Life

Dear all,

Two infusions down, 10 to go. Making my progress, slow & steady. AND enjoying this spectacular fall, walking in the neighborhood.

I wanted to share this HUFF PO piece published today. Please post to FB or tweet if you do those kinds of things; I would like to spread this word. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amy-rothenberg-nd/brca-test-and-retest_b_5853156.html
As we are about to step into the Jewish High Holidays, I will share an image I love from the liturgy: that we all be written into the book of life for a healthy and peaceful new year!

With love & light,

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sparkly Gal

Dear friends,

When I have to go to chemo in the morning, I rise early to psych myself up. I stick to my morning routines at the house and take myself for a long walk. Today, a nip of fall in the air, I zipped up a jacket and tied up hiking boots and made my way down Middle Street. I turned left and walked east, face tipped to the warming sun, along the little lane that leads to the beaver pond. 

The rickety chairs set alongside the water’s edge were dripping with dew, but I sat down anyway to meditate a bit and take it all in. The morning sun bounced off the water golden & clear; the misty steam rose in billows from the deep green and black of the pond’s surface, mysterious and graceful like swirling clouds moving free. Thousands of spider webs connecting branches to tansy flowers and long grasses to cattails were backlit, water droplets clinging to their silvery threads. 

A spider web might provide one of the best metaphorical images around! The strength and resiliency of all those webs, usually not visible, now with their beauty and purpose exposed, called to mind so many things: the interconnectedness of life, the intricacy that goes into so much of what we do, the bravery it requires to both love & create and hopefully the rewards of consistent & hard work. Mostly today, sitting there, I was filled with the power of serenity.

The drugs I had today, Carboplatin and Gemzar, went in without a hitch; I can proudly say I no longer get bent out of shape when there are small inconveniences, discomfort or pain. I suppose I have reframed cancer care into the great teacher on the practice of equanimity. So, it’s one infusion down, eleven to go. I immediately renamed the second medication Gem Star, so I can think of myself as one sparkly gal with connections to the galaxies. This way I can stay bright and aligned and continue to be relevant and compelling to my astronomy-loving husband!

I can also visualize myself as part of a twinkling constellation of family & friends that have made this year tolerable and not without its silver linings. I continue to learn from the generosity of spirit, time, intentionality and material offerings from so many of you-- and there I thought I had that skill-set down! Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts, prayers and positive energy; I feel it all and drink it in right alongside my chemo-elixir, knowing how lucky I am.

Love & light,


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Fast Friends

Dear Friends,

So many people replied with the affirmative to the in-jest line of my last email, when I wrote about my upcoming return to chemo-land: I will be doing the whole fasting regimen again (can’t wait, anyone want to join me?!)
Got me thinking.
Mt Pollux late summer
Part of what feels bad about a cancer diagnosis is that you can get to feeling isolated. And although I can’t say I actually missed too much this last year, I did have to narrow my plan-making and social world to accommodate appointments and procedures. And let’s face it, food is the great social connector. So during fasting, at least for me, it’s a very real manifestation of self–imposed isolation, even when fasting for a higher purpose. The higher purpose here is to weaken any cancer cells that might be trying to set up shop, so that ensuing chemotherapy is that much more effective. Turns out, a welcome benefit of fasting is to severely limit side effects of the chemo, so a win-win situation.

Another thing I hate about this whole diagnosis is the seemingly endless need for self-centeredness, which is neither my general nor preferred posture. I am a giver and doer and an outgoing, face-the-world kind of person. If I knew my fasting, just among my circle of friends, had some kind of  broader impact, something more lofty than just helping my personal health outcome, it would help me immeasurably and would help me feel more connected! My friend DH wants me to call this the ChemoNationFastingTour! HA!

That said, my 500 calorie for 4 days routine is a bit severe & I think for most, would be difficult to sustain while working and doing life. So I had an idea: I’m a naturopathic doctor, I LOVE to take patients through seasonal cleanses, something most people can do without too much planning or stress, which does not deeply restrict calories and which offers some pretty quick health benefits. So, if you’d like to join this virtual party, howzabout a Fall Cleanse? If you’re game, you can do one day, two days or three.  Okay, if you do four days I would start to think you have an eating disorder! And of course just do it once, not 6 times like me. I need to retain SOME bragging rights here folks.

If you want to fast/cleanse with me, you can tell me what it’s like for you. You can cheerlead. You can glow among coworkers. You can lose a few pounds! Heck, you can take the money you would have spent on your usual food intake and donate to the charity of your choice. Here are things a fast/cleanse will not do: permanently shift your BMI, bring back hair for male pattern baldness, provide effective birth control or get your windows clean!

If you’d like to take up a cleanse, see the attached handout for the why & how, food shopping list included. Here are the dates of my fall fasts starting right up next week. I do not recommend doing a fast/cleanse once the cold sets in, wrong time for it for it. I will carry on through the January 5th, mercifully the last infusion, but you shouldn’t go on into the cold.

First round of fasting: Friday, Sept 12 through Monday September 15th.
Second time if dates work better for you: Friday Oct 3rd-October 6th. This is serendipitous, coincides with Yom Kippur. If you tend to fast that day anyway, you’ll have a nice jump start!
Third round: October 24th-27th
I will sign off here with a surge of energy to create this little offering; you know me, always love a project!

With love & light,
Here's the link to the Fall Cleanse info: